I hate flies.
What's more, I don't feel at all bad about it. I love all of God's creatures equally, and believe that they should be allowed to live in their own environmental niche without any provocation or torture beyond what is necessary to render them useful or tasty.
But flies are not one of God's creatures. They are the creation of the devil, and deserve to be treated as such.
Proof #1: flies like to eat poop. Lots of you will protest that dogs do as well, but dogs don't land on the poop, get it all over their multiple feet, then take back off, only to land on the honey bun that you were about to eat, wipe off six very poopy little feet, and then fly off to go land on some more poop.
"Oh, come on, it's a microscopic amount of poop!" some of you are saying right now.
You know what else is microscopic? Ebola. And I bet you don't want to eat any of that, do you? I don't know about you, but my personal daily allowance for feces is 0.0 grams.
Proof #2: They make an annoying buzzing sound and smack themselves, over and over, against your window, your lights, and you, yet never just drop dead to the ground.
Proof #3: I'm pretty sure that flies cause erectile dysfunction.
Unfortunately for my sanity, we're having a fly infestation at work. Yesterday, when I came in, there was a very large, very ugly fly buzzing around the hallway. Our ceilings are about eight feet here, so it's out of the question to whack it with a magazine, and the damn thing wouldn't land on the ground to get a good swat at it.
My European colleagues had resorted to what Europeans do best: bitching about it.
"It's very annoying!" my seven-foot-tall colleague complained. "There's no way to hit it!"
"That sound is driving me mad!" said another.
"I'm going to have to take a personal day!" complained a third.
And on and on and on.
Finally, I did what every American does when confronted with this kind of issue: I decided to take matters into my own hand. I took a large piece of paper, rolled it up, and fabricated the three-foot Fly Swatter Deluxe.
When I came out into the hall, they simply goggled at me.
"What are you going to do?" asked one.
"I'm going to kill that damned thing," I said. "And keep it's body as a trophy."
So I took a big swat at it with my FSD, managing to stun it and drop it to the ground. As it lay there, twitching its little fly legs, I stomped on it and turned it from fly to smear in a matter of seconds.
"What have you done?" asked an aghast colleague.
"You killed it!"
"Why did you do that?" asked a third. "You could have let it go!"
"It deserved to die," I said. "Stupid fly."
One shook her head sadly at me. "Barbaric."
"No," I said. "Barbaric is to sit with the flies and accept that they are swarming all over you. Civilized is to kill the damn thing, realize there are another ten waiting to take its place, and going on with your work."
Needless to say, I didn't win any popularity points on that one. Nor did I win any points by insisting that everyone call me "Fly Killer" for the rest of the day.
But what cinched up my reputation as a barbaric American was what happened next.
I was sitting in my office the next day, minding my own business, when I heard a buzzing against my window. I looked up to see another fly, slightly smaller than the one that I'd smeared the day before, sitting at ease.
So I slowly took a plastic cup, crept over, and caught the fly inside. Then, sliding a piece of paper under the rim, I created my fly prison: an overturned clear cup with a fly inside. I let out a whoop of joy which brought my coworkers running.
"What have you done?" asked one.
"I caught a fly," I said. "I am no longer the Fly Killer. I am the Supreme Fly Hunter in All the World!"
"The poor thing," said one. "Will you let it go?"
"No," I said.
"Are you going to keep it?"
"No," I said. "I'm going to leave it here as a warning to the other flies until it dies, and then I'm going to have it stuffed and mounted and put up on my wall as a trophy to remember my glorious victory. And I'll have my Fly Swatter Deluxe bronzed, as well."
They all looked at me in shock for a moment. Finally, one said "how much does it cost to have a fly stuffed?"
In my shock, I dropped my fly prison, losing my victim. It took off into the air, buzzing around my office.
In retrospect, I should have simply let it get away, but in my urge to kill, I began laying about with the Fly Swatter Deluxe, attempting to knock it out of the air. Unfortunately, sensing sympathy from my coworkers, it headed towards the door, and I followed, bellowing and thrashing.
And I proceeded to hit at least four of my coworkers about the head and shoulders with the Fly Swatter Deluxe.
One of them went down in a heap, one beat a hasty retreat, one spilled coffee all over herself, and the other surrendered Monaco and most of France. On and on I surged, only dimly aware of the pleas for mercy from my coworkers, coffee and tears mixing beneath my feet as I lunged, striving to kill the buzzing speck which had befouled my morning.
It zipped, upwards, through a crack in the ceiling tile and was gone. It had escaped. I stopped, suddenly aware of the sobbing forms lying around me and the growing smear of coffee, tears, and now urine that was slowly oozing down the hallway.
The fire alarm shrieked and doors up and down the hallway slammed shut as my colleagues, terrified that I would turn the Fly Swatter Deluxe on them, huddled under their desks and called their spouses for a tearful goodbye.
I stood, conquering barbarian, in the destroyed wreckage of my once-calm office. At my feet lay a coworker, clutching at my ankle, pleading for mercy.
At that very moment, the elevator dinged, and the boss stepped out. He cast an eye over the scene: the red siren throbbing angrily, two employees face-down, me panting and holding a snot-stained roll of paper, my tie askew, every other office door cracked open just a touch to allow those inside to peer out and see what was going to happen.
He cocked an eyebrow at me, waiting for an explanation.
"Don't worry, sir, I killed the fly. It won't be troubling us any more."
He nodded. "Good job. I hate those things." Then he walked on by and down to his office.
There's a reason why my boss only keeps one American around.